See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Married Alive

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Married Alive is only the Mood Elevator’s second album in four years, but the band hasn’t been exactly invisible. While internal logistics dictated that ME go into hiatus mode after successfully touring behind 1999’s Listen Up!, chief instigator Chris Plum assembled a new version of the group a few years later, additionally enlisting his old school chum Brendan Benson. And when Benson needed a backing band to help promote his 2002 record Lapalco he simply drafted his fellow Elevators and dubbed ’em The Well Fed Boys. So, then, the latest incarnation of ME comes on strong, culling the best of all possible talents from two strong musical songwriting personalities — Plum and Benson — and their intuitive cohorts.

The results differ significantly from Benson’s own critically feted records — less Beatles/Big Star, more Cars/Weezer — and while a few tunes fall flat, the bulk of the material holds up. One of the best cuts is the Plum-Benson composition “Anglophile,” which unfolds amid delicate piano filigrees then, in a wash of synth and crashing guitars, turns grandly symphonic. Nagging New Wave damage (too many synth washes can turn cheesy, in that annoying Weezercentric way) is a bit of a downer, and Plum’s vocals occasionally turn distractingly bellicose. But overall the album’s a hook-fiend’s delight. From the louder ’n’ faster, insanely catchy “Long Hard Look” to the comparative mellow, pure poppery of “Everything’s In Place,” Married Alive should be required listening for any serious student of rock ’n’ roll.

Did someone say “student”? Word recently reached these ears that Plum’s day gig is assistant principal for a local charter school, and if the thought of, say, Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard corrupting America’s youth while he was still a grade school teacher gave one pause, imagine what a bona fide administrator could do with our kids’ still-malleable minds: “OK, the reason I’ve called this assembly is twofold. One, to weed out troublemakers I’m officially banning the campus chapter of Youth for George W. Bush. Secondly, we have a new school anthem, so repeat after me: Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste …” Hey — it could happen!

E-mail Fred Mills at letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Fred Mills

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 20, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation